Mayors ask refinery to end use of dangerous chemical

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) -- The mayors of the Lake Superior twin port cities near last week's oil refinery explosion and fire are calling on its owners to stop using a dangerous chemical compound at the site.

Husky Energy in Superior is one of about 50 refineries in the country that still uses hydrogen fluoride to process high-octane gasoline. The refinery explosion last Thursday injured at least 13 people, caused the evacuation of nearby homes and sent billowing plumes of black smoke into the air.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine and Mayor Emily Larson of the adjacent city of Duluth, Minnesota, have asked Husky Energy to use a safer alternative to hydrogen fluoride, a highly corrosive chemical that can produce toxic vapor clouds.

The tank containing hydrogen fluoride was not damaged by the explosion or fire.

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